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Emotional Intelligence is the New Mantra of the Modern Leader

Updated on April 11, 2017

Fifteen minutes with the whole year consequences

An entrepreneur, with whom I’m acquainted, recently witnessed the loss of ten million dollars in just one short business meeting. He was provoked to a rage at an open tender and he insulted the partners. They of course broke off the cooperation agreement, thereby losing the key contractor. To top it all off, the tender was then won by the competing company. Not good.

The whole process took place through no more than fifteen minutes, but the company reaped the consequences throughout the year. So the inability of the leader to recognize and control destructive emotions played a cruel joke on him, the team, and thereby the whole company.

In all fields and facets of human activity

Emotions are present in all fields and facets of human activity, business is no exception. It comes to mind, how often we come across a situation when the class clown/ mediocre student Misha easily became a successful businessman, but the valedictorian and multiple prize-winner of the Quiz Bowls, Masha persistently is on the career outs. In this case, Masha is easily solves complex logical conundrums and strategizing, so what’s the deal here? Well, how about the fact that the resolution of any personality conflict becomes an impossible task for Masha.

For the first time, the phenomenon of Misha and Masha was talked about by the professor of psychology at the University of New Hampshire, John Mayer and professor of psychology at Yale University, Peter Salovey in 1990. It was they who divided human intellect into two equally important parts: logical and emotional. According to the theory of John and Peter, the high IQ ratio speaks only of the ability to quickly solve logical problems. The ability to analyze the information that we receive through emotions; the ability to control emotions, and use them to solve practical problems, determines the emotional intelligence (EI) of a person.

Subsequently Nobel laureate of 2002 in Economics, Professor of Psychology Daniel Kahneman scientifically proved that in the decision-making process, logic is closely related to irrational and emotional components. Moreover, the intuitive and emotional fields are involved in the decision-making process on an equal par with the logical.

The conclusions of scientists are further confirmed by the figures of a leading supplier of materials for the study and development of emotional intelligence, Talentsmart, which has tested more than 1,000,000 working Americans. The results of their research reveal that 90% of successful top managers and only 20% of ordinary employees of different spheres of business demonstrated a high level of emotional intelligence. In this case, people with an average IQ, but a well-developed emotional intelligence, were ahead of their colleagues in the criteria of "success in career" in 70% of cases. Researchers at Talentsmart came to the conclusion that it is the EI that is the key marker that separates the "stars" from the rest of the staff. In 60% of cases the emotional intelligence of the manager becomes the determining factor of business success.

Developing the emotional intelligence

Working on the development of emotional intelligence is a basic requirement for managers in top positions. Otherwise, more emotionally mature employees sooner or later begin to manipulate them, pushing their personal interests and sacrificing the interests of the business. The lack of emotional maturity can be indicated by such criteria:

  • A sense of misunderstanding from colleagues. You address them in an understandable, "human" language, but you cannot really convey the meaning. The information is distorted and irritating.

  • Your jokes often hurt employees, but you think this reaction is a sign of excessive emotionality.

  • Employees are not particularly disposed towards you, and you also think that colleagues' love at work is not so important.

  • You are single-handedly making strategically important decisions, fiercely defending your position and show little interest, or even completely ignore the opinion of colleagues.

  • You are very demanding to subordinates. You consider them the cause for most of the company's failures, and when people start talking to you about feelings, you feel irritated.

Even several of the five items listed above indicate that it is necessary to work on the level of emotional intelligence. The first step in this direction: the identification of your own emotions. At regular intervals during the day, ask yourself simple questions: what do I feel? Why do I feel this? What is the cause of this emotion? As a rule, after a month of such training, the analysis of your emotional background and the emotional background of the team will occur automatically.

The transformation of destructive emotions into constructive emotions is crucial
The transformation of destructive emotions into constructive emotions is crucial

Transformating the destructive emotions

The second step is to analyze what emotions prevail in you, and your team. In business, emotions are usually divided into three main categories: increasing efficiency, reducing efficiency and reversible (both positive and negative). The first category includes interest, joy, trust, and empathy. The second: embarrassment, shame, apathy, and sadness. Reversible emotions are astonishment, anger, and delight.

The next steps in the development of emotional intelligence will be the transformation of destructive emotions into constructive emotions. For example, you have a contract signing, and an unforeseen event happened at home. There is water up to a knee in the kitchen and the guilty party is away on vacation, a classic example… After such an experience one can fail the negotiations. You can extinguish a stressful situation by transforming the emotions of anger into an interest in a new project.

Of course, this does not happen with the wave of a magic wand, but there are specially developed techniques and training programs. A leader can acquire basic skills of control and management of emotions in three months of active training. It will take about a year to train all the employees in the company. Techniques and programs are easily found in the internet.

By studying and training your reactions, practicing new patterns of behavior, your brain will gradually abandon old, destructive models of interaction. The path of emotional development will not be easy, but as the first woman government leader in an Islamic country, Benazir Bhutto, once said: "Leadership largely depends on the ability to accept defeat and overcome obstacles."

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